Tri-State Tollway highlighted in red
|Maintained by ISTHA|
|Length:||78 mi (126 km)|
|Existed:||Mid to late 1950s – present|
| I-80 from South Holland to Hazel Crest
I-294 from South Holland to Northbrook
I-94 from Northbrook to Zion
|South end:||I-80 / I-94 / I-294 / IL 394 in South Holland|
|North end:||I-94 / US 41 in Zion|
The Tri-State Tollway is a U.S. toll road maintained by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (ISTHA) in northeastern Illinois which is considered one of the most heavily traveled highways in the country (according to the IBTTA, the tollway is the nation's 4th busiest toll road). It is actually a combination of three different Interstates:
- Interstate 80 between Interstate 94 at Thornton and Interstate 294 near Hazel Crest
- I-294, which is routed concurrently with I-80 to Hazel Crest, and then turns north to Deerfield
- I-94 north from Deerfield to U.S. Route 41
The segment containing Interstate 294 is 53 miles (85 km) long; in total, the Tri-State Tollway is actually about 78 miles (126 km) long. Only the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway is longer. Despite its name, the Tri-State Tollway does not enter either Indiana or Wisconsin. On the Indiana side, the Tri-State Tollway ends three miles (5 km) away from the Indiana border and continues as the Kingery Expressway; however both the Kingery and the Indiana portion, which was later named the Borman Expressway, were known as the Tri-State Highway before the Tollway was completed. On the Wisconsin side, the toll road ends just before the border at U.S. Route 41 and Russell Road, although ISTHA maintenance continues to the state line.
- Oases—Rest area terminology for the ISTHA toll roads which contain commercial restaurants, tourist information and service stations. Most within the Chicago area are built over the road, with others in two separate units along each side of the highway.
- Pay-as-you-go tolling—The Tri-State has a barrier toll system where tolls are collected at different intervals along the road rather than at most entrances and exit ramps, though some of the more popular exits and entrances have toll barriers.
- Open road tolling—All sections of the road outside of exit and entrance ramps allow automatic collection of tolls via I-Pass (compatible with E-ZPass) via ORT gantires at highway speeds.
- Thornton Quarry—about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) of the highway crosses a quarry being converted into a large lake for overflow storm water. Currently, the road's elevation over the floor of the quarry is up to 100 feet (30 m) deep on both sides of the highway.
Portions of the Tri-State Tollway are referred to in somewhat archaic language during traffic reports and casual conversation. The following are the most common, from south to north:
- Thornton Quarry—on I-80/294 just east of Halsted Street, the bridge over the aforementioned Thornton Quarry.
- Mile-Long Bridge—on I-294 between I-55 and La Grange Road, the bridge over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the Des Plaines River, a large portion of the UPS transmodal facility, a few rail lines, and some Commonwealth Edison power lines.
- Grand Avenue Curve—the curve immediately south of the Bensenville Bridge (see below). This portion of the tollway functions as a long S-curve, causing delays due to limited visibility beyond both curves.
- Bensenville Bridge—on I-294 just south of O'Hare, the bridge over the Metra Milwaukee District West line and Mannheim Road (US 12/US 45).
The Tri-State Tollway was built in the mid- to late 1950s as a bypass of Chicago, as the Indiana Toll Road-Chicago Skyway (opened in 1956) ran towards downtown. The first section opened August 28, 1958, running from Wisconsin south to and east along the Edens Spur. The rest of the road, from the Edens Spur south to the Calumet Expressway and Kingery Expressway, opened December 23 of the same year. It was at first marked as U.S. Highway 41 Toll, which continued east on the Kingery Expressway (now I-80/I-94) to Calumet Avenue (US 41) in Hammond, Indiana, and ended at the north end of the Tollway, where it merges with US 41. It was also marked as U.S. Highway 30 Toll between its south end (the Calumet Expressway was U.S. Highway 30 Alternate) and the East–West Tollway. In 1959 the Tollway was designated as parts of I-94 and I-294, and the short concurrency with I-80 was assigned.
Between 1992 and 1993, the Tri-State was rebuilt, resurfaced and widened from the Northwest Tollway (I-90, now Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) to 95th Street.
In 1998, the authority removed the entire multilane Deerfield Toll Plaza on the Tri-State, then considered one of the worst snags on the tollway system. To make up for the lost tolls, ISTHA built the Huehl Road Toll Plaza on the Edens Spur to charge traffic that followed I-94 into Chicago. In addition, tolls at the Waukegan Toll Plaza were increased, and additional toll plazas built on exits south of Deerfield at Lake-Cook Road, Willow Road and Golf Road (Illinois Route 58). Toll collection facilities were also added to entrance ramps to the northbound Tri-State at those points.
Over the course of four years, from 2005 until 2009, the remainder of the Tri-State Tollway was rebuilt and widened to eight lanes, from I-90/Balmoral Avenue north to just shy of the Wisconsin state line and from 95th street south to IL 394.
As of December 30, 2009, Clearview font signage was installed on the tollway system, and the mileposts of the I-94 portion of the Tri-State Tollway and Edens Spur no longer use the original milepost signage from IL 394 and I-80. Milepost signs north of Lake–Cook Road now use I-94's mileage from south of the Wisconsin state line. Example: I-294 going north has milepost numbers going up to mile 53. I-294 mile 53 becomes I-94 mile 25 going north with the milepost numbers going down. Milepost numbers are now visible every 1⁄4 mile (0.40 km), as opposed to the previous signage at 1⁄2-mile (0.80 km) intervals.
I-355 is the only Chicago area freeway that cannot be directly accessed from the Tri-State Tollway.
Move Illinois Program Construction
As part of the $12 billion Move Illinois capital program, ISTHA and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are partnering to construct a new, all-electronic interchange to connect the Tri-State Tollway to I-57. In 2014, ISTHA completed the primary interchange connections between I-294 and I-57 and at 147th Street. The remaining ramps to complete the interchange will be completed in 2023–24.
In addition, ISTHA will rebuild the remaining portions of the Tri-State Tollway not rebuilt as part of the Congestion-Relief Program. This includes the central Tri-State Tollway between 95th Street and Balmoral Avenue as well as the Edens Spur (although there are no current plans to widen the Spur). When the central Tri-State is rebuilt, it could get Active traffic management features that are currently being added to the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway as part of its rebuilding and widening project.
||This section contains a table that is missing mileposts for one or more junctions. Please help by .|
|Cook||South Holland||0.00||0.00||I-80 east / I-94 east – Indiana||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|0.00||0.00||I-94 west / IL 394 south – Chicago, Danville||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|1.00||1.61||Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis|
|East Hazel Crest||3.00||4.83||IL 1 (Halsted Street (800 West))|
|4.00||6.44||Dixie Highway||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Hazel Crest||5.00||8.05||I-80 west to I-57 – Iowa||Northern terminus of concurrency with I-80|
|6.00||9.66||163rd Street Toll Plaza|
|Markham||6.50||10.46||US 6 (159th Street)|
|Blue Island||8.00???||I-57 south – Memphis||Southbound exit northbound entrance only; full interchange opening 2023–24|
|Alsip||12.00||19.31||IL 50 (Cicero Avenue (4800 West)) / IL 83 (127th Street)|
|Hickory Hills||17.50||28.16||US 12 (95th Street) / US 20 / 76th Avenue|
|19.50||31.38||83rd Street Toll Plaza (northbound)|
|20.00||32.19||82nd Street Toll Plaza (southbound)|
|Justice||21.00||33.80||US 12 / US 20 / US 45 (LaGrange Road) / IL 171 (Archer Avenue)||Southbound entrance only|
|Des Plaines River||Mile-Long Bridge|
|Hodgkins||22.00||35.41||75th Street, Willow Springs Road (10800 West)|
|Indian Head Park||23.00||37.01||I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) – Chicago, St. Louis||No southbound entrance from I-55 south; Joliet Road has an exit on the exit ramp NB on/SB off after the toll plaza|
|24.00||38.62||Wolf Road (11200 West)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|Western Springs||28.00||45.06||US 34 (Ogden Avenue)|
|Hillside||29.00||46.67||I-88 west (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) – Aurora||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|29.50||47.48||Cermak Road, 22nd Street||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|30.00||48.28||Cermak Road Toll Plaza|
|30.50||49.08||IL 38 (Roosevelt Road (1200 South))||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|31.00||49.89||I-88 west (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) – Aurora||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|32.00||51.50||I-290 east (Eisenhower Expressway) – Chicago|
|Berkeley||34.00||54.72||I-290 west (Eisenhower Expressway) to US 20 / IL 64 – Rockford|
|Franklin Park||38.00||61.16||O'Hare Oasis|
|38.50||61.96||IL 19 (Irving Park Road (4000 North))||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|39.00||62.76||Irving Park Toll Plaza (southbound)|
|39.50||63.57||Balmoral Avenue||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; I-PASS only|
|Rosemont||40.00||64.37||I-190 west (Kennedy Expressway) / River Road – O'Hare|
|41.00||65.98||I-90 (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, Kennedy Expressway) – Rockford, Chicago|
|Park Ridge||42.00||67.59||Touhy Avenue Toll Plaza (northbound)|
|42.00||67.59||Touhy Avenue||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|Des Plaines||44.50||71.62||US 14 (Dempster Street)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|45.00||72.42||IL 58 (Golf Road)||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Northbrook||25.50||41.04||12||I-94 east (Edens Expressway via Edens Spur) – Chicago||Southbound exit and northbound entrance; north end of I-294; south end of I-94 overlap|
|Northbrook–Deerfield city line||25.25||40.64||11||Lake–Cook Road|
|Lake||Deerfield||24.00||38.62||10||Deerfield Road||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|Lincolnshire||22.00||35.41||9||IL 22 (Half Day Road)|
|Lake Forest||19.00||30.58||8||IL 60 (Town Line Road)|
|18.00||28.97||Lake Forest Oasis|
|Lake Bluff||16.00||25.75||7||IL 176 (Rockland Road)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|North Chicago||14.00||22.53||6||IL 137 (Buckley Road)|
|Gurnee||11.00||17.70||5||IL 120 (Belvidere Road)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|10.00||16.09||4||IL 21 (Milwaukee Avenue)||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|8.50||13.68||3||IL 132 (Grand Avenue)|
|Wadsworth||5.00||8.05||Waukegan Toll Plaza|
|Zion||2.50||4.02||2||IL 173 (Rosecrans Road)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|0.96||1.54||1B||US 41 south – Waukegan||Southbound exit and northbound entrance; last exit southbound before tolls|
|0.20||0.32||1A||Russell Road||Signed as exit 1 northbound|
|0.00||0.00||I-94 west / US 41 north – Milwaukee|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Tollway maps do not reflect the renumbering of the I-94 sections, noted in the preceding section of text.
- Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (November 2007). System Map (Map). http://www.illinoistollway.com/portal/page?_pageid=133,1495438&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
- Cauchon, Dennis (January 27, 2008). "Drivers to see major toll hikes". USAToday. Retrieved June 2, 2009.
- "Minutes of the Regular Meeting". Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. May 31, 2007. "Intergovernmental Agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation for routine day-to-day roadway maintenance on I-94 from Russell Road north to the Wisconsin line."
- "North Tri-State Tollway (I-294/94) Rebuild & Widen Project". Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved February 2008. "The section between Russell Road and the Wisconsin state line will be resurfaced."
- Washburn, Gary. "Tri-State Users Get Holiday Gift, But Work Will Resume In Spring". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
- "Tollway Rebuild, Widening Project Completed". Pioneer Press. January 7, 2010.
- Hilkevitch, Jon (October 19, 2009). "Illinois Tollways: New Markers to Be Posted Every Quarter-Mile Instead of Half-Mile". Chicago Tribune.
- Staff. "I-294/I-57 Interchange Fact Sheet". Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
- Staff. "Move Illinois: Fact Sheets" (PDF). Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
- Wronski, Richard. "Tollway to Add 'Smart Highway' Features Too". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
- Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
- Illinois Tollway official site
- Historic, Current & Average Travel Times For The Tristate Tollway
- Illinois Highways Page (Rich Carlson)